Piero Umiliani “To​-​day’s Sound” (Jazz Funk) 1973 [Music/Review]

9/10

Year: 1973
Genre: Space-Age, Jazz Funk, Easy Listening,
Album Versions: Discogs

Information/Background

Originally released on 1973 as a double album and conceived as a collection of episodes destined to TV broadcasting, “To-day’s sound” has quickly become one of the most popular works by Piero Umiliani and certainly is one of the best of his long career. Umiliani, here on the job with Moog, Hammond and keyboards, is accompanied by a group of excellent and talented jazz players: Franco D’Andrea and Giovanni Tommaso (both in the Perigeo group), the trumpeter Oscar Valdambrini, guitarist Silvano Chimenti from I Grès group, percussionist Ciro Cicco and many others. 

With the original intent to offer radically different styles and atmospheres, in order to promote the use of the tracks in movies and TV series – in fact, the psycho-funk “Open space” was used for the opening credits of the movie “Baba Yaga” – “To-day’s sound” is the perfect example of Umiliani’s incredible and diverse talent, capable of mastering diverse genres and sounds without losing his personal touch. 

As stated on the cover: “Rock, rhythm and blues, beat, underground, country, pop”, we can also add electronic music and funk, in order to complete a sound palette that only very few other composers displayed. It is hard to pick the best track in a record (a double album to be specific) so rich of gems, from the title track to “Caretera panamericana” (with “virtuoso” Moog improvisations ), to “Bus stop” and “Music on the road”, to end with the wonderful soul of “Green valley”: this is just Umiliani at his best!  

Piero Umiliani

Piero Umiliani (17 July 1926 – 14 February 2001) was an Italian composer of film scores. Like many of his Italian colleagues at that time, he composed the scores for many exploitation films in the 1960s and 1970s, covering genres such as Spaghetti Westerns, Eurospy, Giallo, and softcore sex films.

His composition “Mah Nà Mah Nà” (1968) was originally used in Sweden: Heaven and Hell, a 1968 Mondo documentary about Sweden. It was a minor charting single (spending 6 weeks on the Billboard chart and peaking at #55, and reaching #22 in Canada), popularized by The Red Skelton Show, first airing in October 1969, and The Muppets, who covered the song several times; starting on episode 0014 of Sesame Street on 27 November 1969, then The Ed Sullivan Show three days later, and again on the syndicated series The Muppet Show in 1977. The track was also a hit in the UK, reaching number 8 in the UK Singles Chart in May 1977.

Umiliani’s other scores included Son of DjangoOrgasmoGangster’s Law,[3] Death Knocks TwiceFive Dolls for an August Moon, Baba YagaThe Slaveand Sex Pot. His orchestra score “Arrivano I Marines” for War Italian Style, a 1966 comedy about two USMC soldiers in Italy, is used in the Armored Trooper Votoms series as “March of the Red Shoulders”.

His composition “Crepuscolo Sul Mare” was later used in Ocean’s Twelve.

Umiliani died in Rome in February 2001, at the age of 74.


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